The following faculty Q&A was submitted by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Faculty Advocacy Committee, a committee of the Faculty Senate. Christie Launius, director of the Women’s Studies program, wrote the introduction:
It gives me great pleasure to introduce my friend and colleague, Orlee Hauser. I have gotten to know Orlee in the context of UW Oshkosh’s Women’s Studies program, which I direct. Orlee teaches two (very popular!) courses in the program. Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Orlee has a “fan club” of students who have been inspired by her teaching, which is both rigorous and engaging. I am aware of this fan club because I regularly advise students who, with no prompting from me, begin gushing about how much they like her courses and how much they learned in them.
I have also spent many an hour over coffee at Reeve Memorial Union’s Mi Taza talking with Orlee about her research, and I am always struck by her passion for it and the strength of her intellectual curiosity. Whether it is her work on women soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces or her work on maternal gatekeeping, her research is timely and relevant to feminist scholars moving into the second decade of the 21st century. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Orlee’s dedication to social justice and community activism; I admire her unwavering dedication to righting the wrongs she sees around her.
How did you find your way to UW Oshkosh?
“I did not even know that the city of Oshkosh existed before I applied to this position. I thought Oshkosh was a made-up name used to sell overalls. Upon graduating from McGill University in Canada, I applied widely and ended up traveling for interviews all over the U.S. UW Oshkosh seemed like a great fit right away. I was happy to find a place that emphasized both teaching and research – not just one or the other.”
Why did you choose to go into your field?
“I initially took Sociology classes in university because I liked my one Sociology class in high school. I soon became amazed at how everything in our lives follows patterns. Choices that we make that seem intimately our own, such as what to eat, how to dress, who to marry, even whether or not to kill ourselves – all follow patterns! Even today this notion excites me and sets my research and teaching in motion.”
What is your favorite thing about UW Oshkosh?
“My favorite thing at UW Oshkosh is undoubtedly the students! Students here are so grounded and pleasant. I am amazed at how well they manage to integrate learning into their busy lives. It’s great to have students with so many different perspectives on life in my classes, and it presents me with the challenge of making the information from courses meaningful for them!”
What is the professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?
“I really can’t answer this question. As years pass and goals are achieved, new goals always emerge. The only consistent element in my career is my students. When students show that they have digested the material and can link it to the real world, I feel very proud – but mostly of them!”
What leadership or service activities are you involved in?
“Throughout my time at UW Oshkosh I have been involved with many university groups. I spent several years as the advisor to both the Sociology club and the Hillel student organization on campus. I was also involved with an academic mommy group – meeting with other professor mothers to read books on mothering and discuss work/parent balance issues. Currently, I am heading up a club with my colleague Juyeon Son, called ‘Research Watchers,’ that is focused on providing support to faculty and students conducting active research at UW Oshkosh.”
What is the most common misperception about what you do?
“I think that many people concentrate on only the teaching aspect of this position and forget that faculty are also active researchers, mentors and learners. I often work late nights in my office reading, marking, answering student emails, preparing for lectures, etc., and it is sometimes irksome for people to assume that I only work a couple hours each day. The other common misperception, which is kind of funny, comes from students. I think they sometimes forget that their profs were once students too – that we know what they’re up to and, most importantly, that we have a sense of humor (maybe not good ones, but we can still laugh at ourselves from time to time).”
What is the most exciting project you are working on right now?
“Right now, I’m very excited about my latest research studying parenting. I’m interested in looking at the way that men and women parent differently, and I’m trying to figure out, when it comes to moms and dads, who exactly is in charge.”
How does what you research help you to be an effective teacher?
“I’m not sure that it’s what I research – just that I DO research. It’s great to be able to tell students stories from the field and to provide an example of what Sociologists actually do. I have also had the privilege of working with many students and training them in qualitative research methods, so a great deal of teaching gets done on a one-on-one level.”
Describe some ways your department serves Northeastern Wisconsin.
“We serve Northeastern Wisconsin in an abstract, yet very important way. We teach students to be aware of what is happening in their own communities and, more importantly, to get involved in making their communities better. We teach critical thinking skills in hopes that students do not just accept what they hear as reality but, rather, that they investigate and think for themselves. This may be the most important contribution that any department can make!”
Tell us about your family.
“My family is international to say the least. We’re Jewish; I’m from Canada and my husband is from Israel. Our 3-year-old son is American; born here in Oshkosh. We love spending time in Oshkosh with friends and visiting the amazing parks in the area. We also love escaping to the big city once in awhile, and so we spend a great deal of time in Madison and Milwaukee. ”
What are your hobbies?
“Between work and childcare, it’s hard to find time for hobbies – but when I get the chance, I love to read and collect underground comics and to attend folk music shows. (I’m also a closet metal-head – surprised?).”
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